Author: Abby Dees
Publisher: St. Lynn's Press
Release Date: 1 May 2010
Date Finished: 2 November 2010
Buy | Borrow | Accept | Avoid
Challenges: 100+ Reading, Hogwarts Reading Challenge, Reading Resolutions, GLBT Challenge,
The Short and Sweet of It
This short book includes 108 Questions to spark conversation with a friend or family member who has come out.
A Bit of a Ramble
Dees wrote this book to help aid in communication between homosexuals and their families and friends. With a bit of advice, a bit of humor, and a lot of interesting, Queer Questions Straight Talk can probably really help get a conversation going. To read it just to read it, however, is not quite as satisfying. I wanted to hear more answers instead of primarily reading a list of questions.
This is not to say I didn't enjoy the book however. Certain portions were extremely intriguing. For example, in chapter 3 which focuses on Stereotypes, Dees writes:
Even the most polite and thoughtful among us stereotype people. It's a natural instinct to help us identify folks and know where to begin the conversation. If I'm at a party and want to break the ice with a man who has a tattoo on his neck and a shark's tooth through his septum, I probably won't ask him if he scrapbooks. Likewise, I won't ask the 90-year-old woman in line at the post office if that's her chopper blocking my car outside. This is stereotyping - and quite possibly, I would be wrong in both cases. If I am, the consequences are not too great: a little embarrassment, and maybe an apology to the senior division of my local Hell's Angels chapter.
I found this paragraph hilarious and immediately realized I could use it for classes. I am often trying to explain stereotyping as a morally neutral activity, a natural part of being human, instead of the horribly negative, hell-worthy offense it is made out to be. Stereotypes are how we create meaning. I tell my students that only when a person locks on to the stereotype, when he/she refuses to acknowledge the possibility the stereotype is wrong, that is the time we have a problem.
The next paragraph stresses the difference when it is a minority group being stereotyped. While I agree that "stereotyping dehumanizes people, reducing them to caricatures", I do not agree that it only does this for minorities. Here's where I take an unpopular stance: I think that assuming all middle class white men are conservative is just as bad as assuming all teenage black men are drug dealers or that all gay men like fashion. I do not agree that stereotypes of the "privileged" are any less dangerous or offensive than stereotypes of minority groups. That sort of attitude holds us back in my opinion. We all start with the stereotype, but we can not cling to it, promote it, or negatively use it regardless of who is being stereotyped. I hope that made sense...
While the stereotyping paragraph tickled my funny bone, this next part had me laughing out loud by myself in my basement. In the same chapter on stereotyping, Dees lists the following question set:
Are lesbians angry at men? Are gay men angry at women? Are bi people angry at anyone?
I seriously could not stop laughing because of that last question. I had this whole image of the entire bisexual population just loving everyone in this whole hippie, arms waving, giant smiles, big hugs kind of love fest. I love you and you and you and you and you....Sorry, mild distraction here. It just really had me going.
On a side note to a side note, I think the idea funny that lesbians are angry at men. Why are lesbians angry at men? I'll tell you who's angry with men. Straight women. We're the ones who have to put up with them. : D
Back to serious. If you have someone with whom you should be having this sort of conversation, I highly recommend picking up this book. If not, I'd say take it if you have the chance, but there's no real need to seek it out.
If you are looking for answers to questions of the GLBT variety, head over to Bonjour Cass and ask the magnificent Cass to answer them for you!
This Book Around the Web
If I've missed your review, let me know!
The Book Lady's Blog; The Zen Leaf;
Side Note: Be sure to go nominate books for the GLBTQ Indie Lit Awards